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Posts Tagged ‘Booker Prize’

Emma Donoghue & the ‘Room’ Bookshelf

As the Man Booker prize announcement nears, readers around the globe have explored Emma Donoghue‘s Booker shortlisted novel, Room.

The book tells the story of a 5-year-old boy named Jack who is imprisoned in a single room with his mother. Everything Jack knows about the world he learned from a battered television set and the nine books kept inside the room.

We did a little research, trying to find all the books that Jack read. Our list follows below–a surreal glimpse at contemporary fiction from inside the suspenseful novel. The Man Booker Prize winner will be announced this evening.

The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks
The Shack by William P. Young
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

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Tom McCarthy Breaks Bank in Booker Prize Betting

Last week the UK gambling site Ladbrokes stopped taking bets on the Man Booker Prize (to be announced Oct. 12) when shortlisted novelist Tom McCarthy‘s C suddenly earned £15,000 of bets in a single day–as if the gambling world knew something the literary world didn’t

According to the Guardian, Ladbrokes spokesperson David Williams was befuddled by this rush of bets McCarthy’s novel. The book tells the story of a troubled young genius during the early years of the 20th Century. While gamblers furiously chased odds last week for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa defied the odds to win.

Williams had this statement: “This year there wasn’t really a standout name among the six shortlisted candidates, no Rushdie or Banville, so you’d expect to see a good spread of business, with a few people having a £10 bet on him or her … [then] every single bet started striking on one man. It wouldn’t be so surprising if there were a Rushdie in the race, but with respect, in this case it was borderline inexplicable and we decided to pull the plug.”

How A.N. Wilson Got Left Off the Booker Shortlist

In truth, A.N. Wilson‘s WINNIE AND WOLF was never actually on the shortlist for the Booker Prize – but for about 15 minutes, he writes in the Telegraph, Wilson didn’t realize there was a mistake because “shortly before four o’clock [the day of the announcement] they rang me in tremendous excitement. It sounded as if one of the nice women in the office had either brought along a puppy to join in the celebrations or was herself having hysterics. “You’re through! You’re on the list!” I was told.”

And then came the about-face. It turns out that PR firm Colman Getty – responsible for all things PR-related for the Booker – had rung Wilson’s publisher Hutchinson by mistake. And about an hour later, a motorbike came to the front door with a letter. “Dear Andrew, I’ve just got back from the Man Booker press conference to hear about the really unfortunate mistake Lois, my assistant, has made in telling Random House that WINNIE AND WOLF has been shortlisted for the prize. I am so, so sorry that this has happened…It was a genuine mistake, and we are all deeply upset by it.” It was signed by someone called Dotty.

Wilson then muses about whether his “favorite” prankster Bevis Hiller was involved, or if circumstances should ever throw him and the unfortunate assistant (really charged with the entire Booker campaign!) together. In the end, he concludes that Lois’s boss was the one in error: “How truly shaming of Dotty to blame Lois for the “genuine” mistake. Dotty, described in the letter as “Chief Executive”, should have apologized collectively rather than naming the unfortunate Lois.” No kidding.

How Retailers Are Handling the Booker Prize

The reaction to the Booker Prize longlist has been, shall we say, rather muted. “Too many unknowns,” some grumble, though others welcome the lack of bestsellers and notable names. But what does this mean for the high street? The Bookseller’s Alison Bone endeavors to find out in the wake of a recent survey of retailers by the Man Booker Prize people. In a presentation to longlisted publishers on Thursday, the Booker Prize’s organisers–including administrator Ion Trewin and marketing consultant Gordon Kerr–outlined the results of industry research into the status and impact of the prize.

Kerr said that every single retailer interviewed during the course of the research raised the issue of availability of shortlisted titles. Prize administrator Ion Trewin agreed. “We don’t want a repeat of a couple of years ago when for two weeks two of the books were not available. It seems such a waste given the massive amount of publicity,” he said. Kerr believes that having a shorter longlist will help publishers prepare themselves for reprints on shortlisted titles. Other retailers brought up the notion of receiving advance word provided they sign confidentiality letters, a notion that intrigued both Trewin and Kerr.

And what of the supermarkets, so critical for the UK’s book industry now? This year’s prize will see Tesco promote the shortlist in its stores for the first time, publishers were told. Tesco’s instore shortlist marketing is likely to run alongside a website promotion and targeted emails, backed by co-operative press advertising. Category manager David Cooke said: “We’ve never really supported the Booker, so whatever we do will be a step forward.” And at Asda, books buyer Steph Bateson is also considering whether to stock the entire shortlist. “It’s an opportunity for those customers who may be intimidated by going into a Waterstone’s, or maybe haven’t even heard of the Booker,” she said.

Obligatory Padma Lakshmi-Salman Rushdie Divorce Post

It’s the day before July 4th, my brain is inching ever so close to burnoutmini-vacation and I guess it’s only fair to report that Booker Prize-winning author, PEN president and former frequenter of safe houses Salman Rushdie and his fourth wife, TOP CHEF hostess Padma Lakshmi, are getting a divorce after three years of marriage.

In a statement from Rushdie’s spokeswoman, the Wylie Agency‘s Jin Auh, issued yesterday, Rushdie said that he “has agreed to divorce his wife, Padma Lakshmi, because of her desire to end their marriage” and requests that “the media respect his privacy at this difficult time”. No word on respecting Lakshmi’s privacy, though her spokesperson hasn’t issued a statement and it seems she’s moved on pretty well already.

The Orange Broadband Prize Longlist

Have to remember to write in that “broadband” in the official title, but the UK’s award for best novel by a woman has announced its longlist, which includes Booker Prize & NBCC Award winner Kiran Desai, Costa Award winner Stef Penney, Jane Smiley, M.J. Hyland, Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, Anne Tyler and Jane Harris. In total there are nine British authors on the list, four Americans, two Australians and two Canadians. The other three are from China, India and Nigeria.

“This year’s Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction longlist is an absolute delight given the diversity and quality of the work,” commented Muriel Gray, Chair of Judges. “Our decision has resulted in a spectrum arching from several new novels of outstanding merit, to exciting new books from important and established authors. Subject matter varies from the minutiae of personal experience, the exuberance of free thinking, the thrilling and entertaining epic, to the witty, the highly political, the challenging and enlightening.”